cabal installation failure

Duncan Coutts duncan.coutts at
Fri May 21 04:35:06 EDT 2010

On Wed, 2010-05-19 at 01:45 -0400, Mats Ahlgren wrote:

> > I've installed Cabal once in the past with no trouble. However I can
> > no longer do so.
> >
> > I tried to install Cabal on a new computer:
> > - I visited and got the
> > latest version
> > - I followed the directions in the README file
> > - No error messages were thrown, the process was "successful" and I
> > now have a ~/.cabal directory --but-- it doesn't seem as if I have a
> > 'cabal' command in /usr/bin or /usr/local/bin or even anywhere in the
> > ~/.cabal directory.

Ah, I'm guessing you downloaded the Cabal library package, rather than
the cabal-install command line package.

The README for the latter involves running the ./ which is
included in the cabal-install-x.y.tar.gz package.

The README for the Cabal library mentions at the top that there is also
the cabal-install package. Perhaps that notice needs to be clearer.
Maybe the download page needs to be clearer too.

Let us know what you think would have helped you.

> > - There was no extra information in the README file; no examples of
> > how to proceed or sample usage
> > - I then followed the directions to view the user docs online. After
> > locating them, it seems there are no instructions for end-users, just
> > for people who wish to submit packages.
> > - I then looked at
> > and noticed
> > there was another way to do this -- with a ./ -- but this
> > file is missing in the latest version.

I'm guessing you're still looking at the Cabal library package which
indeed has no bootstrap, it's the cabal-install package which has that.

> > The end result is that even after 2 hours, I am unable to figure out
> > why Cabal is not working. If I was a new user, I wouldn't even know
> > what Cabal does.
> >
> > I attempted to file a bug, but then saw I was unable to because the
> > Trac installation is protected with basic http authentication.

It gives the guest account username and password on the main front page
of the trac.

> > I write this out of concern, because these issues with documentation
> > (and what may be a critical bug) may make people shy away from Haskell
> > as a platform.
> > Also if anyone might have insight into how to fix this, it would be
> > much appreciated; thank you.

Thanks for your report. I'd welcome your suggestions on what bits of
documentation should be clarified. It's not always obvious to us since
we're too familiar with it all.

One thing that's particularly confusing is simply the package naming.
The original package was simply called "Cabal" and then later when we
added a separate command line program we had to give that a different
name. The plan in future is to reorganise the packages a bit and we'll
take the opportunity to call the main user package simply "cabal".


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